The IEA’s report on employment in the energy sector
(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – 2022 is not an easy year for energy. Yet, despite old and new challenges, the industry continues to take on a new workforce. To the point of registering in recent months the fastest employment growth in recent years. This is reported by the International Energy Agency IEA publishing the first-ever assessment of jobs globally. The document offers an in-depth look at the sector, with analysis by region and technology. And it shows how employment in the energy sector has finally recovered from the difficulties introduced by the pandemic, even exceeding pre Covid-19 levels with over 65 million employees.
The trend has been driven mostly by hiring in the field of renewables. To be precise, employment in clean energy has exceeded the share of 50% of total employment in the energy sector. By contrast, the hydrocarbon sector is still struggling to recover from the decline in 2020, despite the boom in new LNG projects.
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“Countries around the world are responding to the current crisis by accelerating the growth of local clean energy industries. The regions that will make this move will see huge growth in jobs,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “Seizing this opportunity requires skilled workers. Governments, companies, labor representatives and educators must come together to develop the programs and accreditations needed to cultivate this workforce and ensure that the jobs created are quality jobs that attract a workforce diversified”.
China, the world’s largest “employer”
The report on employment in the energy sector also provides other interesting data. More than half of jobs are in the Asia-Pacific region. This reflects the rapid expansion of energy infrastructure in the region and access to cheap labor, which has allowed the emergence of production centres that are essential for both local and export markets. China alone accounts for 30% of the global workforce in the energy sector.
And more. About 45% of the world’s energy workers are in highly skilled jobs, compared to about 25% of the economy in general. Some fossil fuel companies are internally retraining workers for positions in “green” areas, so as to retain talent or maintain flexibility when needed.
Employment growth in the energy sector will continue to rely on renewables in the future. In all the scenarios of the Agency, in fact, green jobs are destined to increase, overcoming the decline in fossil fuels. In the scenario Zero net emissions by 2050, by 2030 14 million new jobs would be created in the clean energy sector, while another 16 million workers would convert their role from fossil to green.